CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - The start of the Jewish New Year is filled with holy days, among them four foundational celebrations: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Jeff Rembrandt, Assistant Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center in Springfield shared more about these holidays and showed us how to make challah bread!
Rosh Hashanah (September 4-6th)
The festival of Rosh Hashanah-the name means "Head of the Year"-is observed for two days beginning on 1 Tishrei, the first day of the Jewish year. It is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the firstman and woman, and their first actions toward the realization ofmankind's role in G-d's world.
Yom Kippur (Sep 13-14th)
Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year--the day on which we are closest to G-d and to the quintessence of our own souls. It is the Day of Atonement--"For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G-d" (Leviticus 16:30). For nearly twenty-six hours--from several minutes before sunset onTishrei 9 to after nightfall on Tishrei 10--we "afflict our souls": we abstain from food and drink, do not wash or anoint our bodies, do not wear leather footwear, and abstain from marital relations.
Sukkot (September 18-25th)
For forty years, as our ancestors traversed the Sinai Desert, following the Exodus from Egypt, miraculous"clouds of glory" surrounded and hovered over them, shielding them from the dangers and discomforts of the desert. Ever since, we remember G-d's kindness and reaffirm our trust in His providence by dwelling in a sukkah--a hut of temporary construction with a roof covering of branches--for the duration of the Sukkot festival (on the Jewish calendar Tishrei 15-21). For seven days and nights, we eat all our meals in the sukkah and otherwise regard it as our home.
Simchat Torah (September 25th)
Is a celebration marking the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle. Simchat Torah is a component of the Biblical Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret ("Eighth Day of Assembly"), which follows immediately after the festival of Sukkot in the month of Tishrei. This holiday is characterized by utterly unbridled joy, which surpasses even the joy of Sukkot. The joy reaches its climax on Simchat Torah, when we celebrate the conclusion - and restart - of the annual Torah-reading cycle.
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
1. Place warm water, sugar, honey, vegetable oil, salt, 2 eggs, flour and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough cycle; press Start.
2. After the machine is done, take the dough out, and place it on a very lightly floured board, punch the dough down, and let rest for 5 minutes.
3. Divide the dough in half. Then divide into 3 equal pieces, roll into ropes about 12 to 14 inches, and braid into a loaf. Do the same with the remaining other half. Gently put the loaves on a greased cookie sheet, or a baking pad mist with water, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a warm, draft free place, (on oven that is turned off works great, until double in size.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small bowl, beat together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water.
5. Brush risen loaves with egg mixture. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. If it begins to brown too soon, cover with foil.
6. Remove from oven and try not to eat the whole loaf right then (this is the hardest part)